The Practical Possibilist
Oct14

The Practical Possibilist

Population 10 Billion: The Coming Demographic Crisis and How to Survive It by Danny Dorling; Constable, 2013. 448pp Reviewed by Martin Earnshaw | 14 October 2013 The recent news that the UK is experiencing a mini baby boom was greeted with predictable panic about how Britain’s services would cope. From worries about an ageing population to the familiar refrain (1) about depleted resources, population has long been a lightning rod for...

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Europe and China: Strategic Partners or Rivals?
Aug20

Europe and China: Strategic Partners or Rivals?

Just half a century after De Gaulle’s vision that Europe (‘from the Atlantic to the Urals’) would decide the destiny of the world, Europe looks anything like a global powerhouse. With the euro falling apart, European authority is regarded by many, with barely concealed disdain. From Britain to Bulgaria, the European Union is seldom mentioned without the suffix ‘crisis’, and the phrase ‘European integration’ is widely held to be an...

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The world, one sketch at a time

‘The Art of Urban Sketching: Drawing on Location Around the World’ by Gabriel Campanario; Quarry Books, 2012. 320pp Reviewed by Anna Gibb | 29 November 2012 A renaissance in sketching is occurring.  While advances in technology continue and we now have smartphones that allow us to document our surroundings in an instant, for many people there remains something both seductive and unique about a hand drawing. The Art of Urban...

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Venice: Myth and Reality

‘Venice in Environmental Peril? Myth and Reality’ by Dominic Standish; University Press of America, 2012. 318pp Reviewed by Elisabetta Gasparoni | 2 November 2012 You cannot help but wonder how the ancient Venetians managed to create such stunning architecture and, what’s more, to do so in such hostile conditions. The city stands as a majestic symbol of human mastery over nature. In the past 40 years, however, claims that...

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Britain after the riots

‘Out of the Ashes: Britain after the riots’ by David Lammy; Guardian Books, 2011. 272pp Reviewed by Jane Sandeman | 11 October 2012 The death of Mark Duggan in August last year was followed by four days of riots in London, and later Birmingham and Manchester. While many agreed that the riots were nihilistic, opportunistic ‘mugging’ on a large scale, there is also substantial disagreement as to the meaning of the riots and the reasons...

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Architectural Olympiad

‘The Stadium’ by Tim Abrahams;  Machine Books, 2012. 38pp Reviewed by Josh Broomer | 10 October 2012 ‘These 17 days may have changed this country’. So pronounced the Guardian the morning after Stephen Daldry’s closing ceremony concluded a vibrant festival of sport. The Olympic Stadium in east London provided a fitting  setting for a series of memorable track and field achievements from Usain Bolt’s second triple to David...

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Looking back today

‘Everything Was Moving: Photography from the 60s and 70s’ at the Barbican Art Gallery; 13 Sep 2012 – 13 Jan 2013. Reviewed by Pauline Hadaway | 27 September 2012 From iconic portraits of Dylan, Che and Martin Luther King, to history making shots of civil rights marchers, students on the barricades and draft card burning, many of the images that we think of as defining sixties and seventies radicalism remain part of...

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FROM THE FUTURE CITIES ARCHIVE

Lost in Space’ by Greg Klerkx: A review by Martin Earnshaw Neil Armstrong, who died last month, encapsulated humanity’s desire for exploration and discovery, and is believed to have been dismayed at NASA’s diminished ambitions. Here Martin Earnshaw assesses Klerkx’s claim that NASA is the main barrier to realising a human future in space.  ‘Lost in Space: The Fall of NASA and the Dream of a New Space Age’...

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Emerging Africa

‘Emerging Africa: how 17 countries are leading the way’ by Steven C. Radelet; Center for Global Development, 2010. 169pp Reviewed by Joel Cohen | 22 August 2012 On the 50th anniversary of the publication of Things Fall Apart, Nigerian author Chinua Achebe was asked “Are things really falling apart or are they starting to come back together in Africa?” His reply was incisive: “It’s always happening both of them. It depends on where you...

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Chronic Dissentery: Olympic Whingers

‘The Art of Dissent’ edited by Hilary Powell et al Austin Williams | 24 July 2012 British comedian Jimmy Carr was recently heckled with the taunt ‘You don’t pay tax’. Floundering for reply, Carr spat: ‘I pay what I have to and not a penny more’, which was possibly one of the least funny comeback lines ever delivered. This exchange, allied to the growth of the self-proclaimed ‘grassroots movement’ UK Uncut, which campaigns...

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